In the modern world, old Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ might not apply as it once did. Living in a city today means we don’t have to defend ourselves from predatory animals or rival tribes (unless you are a football hooligan). Being able to survive contributes to your true health because it keeps you alive. Health is no good to the dead. We don’t have the sabertooth tiger today but we do have fast-food, transport and an overdose of technology. If one cannot adapt to urban life, their health will be compromised.
Let’s start with short-term survival. A natural disaster, killer-disease or a mugger could take your life right now. Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear, Aron Ralston chopped off his own arm to get home and Nando Parrado ate his dead rugby mates after his plane crashed. All of these guys had two things in common. Firstly, they all had an amazing will to survive. Secondly, they were all strong, physical specimens. They were designed for their environment as old mate Charlie would say. If you were in a life or death situation, how determined would you be to survive? Could you fight a bear, chop off your arm or eat your friend?
Five physical feats you’ll need to pass if you have a of chance of surviving a life-threatening event:
- Run 5km without the need to stop
- Swim 2km without drowning
- Get in a boxing ring with a bigger dude and punch on while protecting your chin
- Climb a 20m rope
- Fireman’s carry someone your own bodyweight
Survival is not just about getting through today’s worse case scenario. It also involves long-term components like parental characteristics and expressing your genes well. Imagine you were to die today. How would your kids remember you? Would they have images of a beached whale or killer whale? Would your kids swear to be nothing like you or just like you? One’s physical traits are a by-product of their day-to-day decisions from the last few years. Your children will inherit your characteristics whether they are good or bad. If one is physicality is weak, stressed, inflamed or diseased, they have more chance of dying or barely surviving each day. The opposite is to be strong, calm, balanced with a high immunity. These people will go like an expensive timepiece and more importantly, their offspring will also be a specimen!
I’ve made the comparison before that gene expression is like poker. You can have a shitty hand but still go to win the game. Let’s be frank, I will never be the world’s best rock climber because I’m not built like a rake and do not have a great bodyweight-to-strength ratio. I can however, climb every day and adapt my body to the demands of climbing. I can create a stimulus where I adapt. If one’s stimulus is the TV and couch then they will adapt with decrepit glutes and a crumbling, dry spine.
Survival in many ways is about being proactive. If one is conditioned to adapt then they can act before it is too late. A situation may be a mugger on the street or a chronic disease. Being a leader and not a follower makes a good survivor.